Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Why I Hate the Cold

40 years ago today, this is what I was born into...Chicago's biggest snow storm. Great timing, Mom & Dad. :)

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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Obvious and Oblivious Only Differ by Two Letters

You notice least what is around you the most. And even when those things have a speckle of difference, they pass unbeknownst to us unless we are looking closely for them.

• Late night phone calls home when you’re out of town and your spouse doesn’t answer.
• Trips to pick up prescriptions that take 90 minutes.
• A friend who hasn’t come to town for 15 months suddenly comes to stay for the weekend.
• You attend a brunch (by yourself) and it seems last much longer than it should.
• A Saturday of missing your partner in the house and only receiving notes instead.
• Phone calls to friends that go directly to voice mail.
• Your son’s moms need some bookcases moved precisely at 3:30. They feed you and then hurriedly send you home.
• Lights on in rooms that shouldn’t be as you arrive home.
• No parking spots anywhere as you arrive and you have to park in front of the neighbors.

You open the door and ….


Holy Shit.

The Saturday before my birthday and they totally got me.


In case you didn’t know (um, like me), I had a surprise 40th birthday party last night. It was a small, intimate gathering of a few friends and family from different points in my life; a smorgasbord of those I love.

The whole evening, I waffled between being utterly shocked at the gathering and utterly shocked at my own ignorance. For years, I had written off the thought of ever having a surprise party… or more precisely, ever BEING surprised by a surprise party. I would tell people, “There’s no way Larry could ever do it. He’s just not that good and I totally catch everything.”

Well, we have chances in our life to eat crow and mine was last night. But I could not think of a better way to do it.

Surrounded by my family and friends, my son and I blew out two candles; one that was a ‘4’ and one that was a ‘0’. Watching the smile on his face and looking at those around me, I realized I don’t care what age I am… as long as all of them are by my side.

Thanks for the best birthday a guy could have.


Monday, January 22, 2007


Sometimes things just have to change.

Back in 2003, I was watching the American Idol final. As I went to work the next day, everyone was a buzz about Reuben winning over Clay. We all talked about the other idols as they returned to the stage to join the finalists. Remember, this was the 2nd season and the producers hadn't learned how to milk the excitement with Kelly's win.

As we chatted about the finale, I realized that I was missing golden opportunities to be witty with my friends who were outside of the office. So I wrote a recap and my 'career' as a writer was launched. I began writing my American Idol Recaps.

I ventured out into Rock Star: INXS but nothing ever matched the AI ones. I would send out an email early Wednesday morning to over 300 people who had subscribed. People would sign up year round and the list kept growing.

But when the AI season would end, I found there was no real way to express myself. I then discovered the world of blogging.

The chicken and the egg. I can't even remember if the blog or the recaps drove creating the web site, but last year, I bought and merged both. Some folks read the recaps; others the blog, but it enabled me to really build my writing skills (and semi-build my proofreading ones).

Last week, I announced the end of the recaps. After three solid years, I was laying my pen down. My job, my family and my impending education have made it too much to handle. It was a labor of love; getting up each Wednesday at 4:30 am to write a recap of the night before. Yet it was one of my favorite things to do.

I will miss it immensily. But I also know it had to go to make room for bigger and better things.

So in the next few weeks, that site will go away and I will route that URL to the blog. This is my #1 source of written word and it's not going anywhere.

I promise!


Monday, January 15, 2007

The Black Sheep of the Family

A continuation of the Christmas Lamb Story.


Saturday, January 13, 2007

Beauty is Only Skin Freaking use Moisturizer

Time for another product review and this time, we stay in the family. My good friend Peter, and his wife Heidi asked me to review the Men's line of Arbonne.

I had heard of the product line but never had tried it out. So last month, the Tutu Boutique sent me out my very own NutriMenC kit. It's no secret I love facial products so I was thrilled to give it a try.

The NutriMenC REvolution Set comes with five products: shaving cream, an exfoliating scrub, a moisturizing sunscreen lotion, a toner and (deep breath)... the Intelligence Thermal Fusion Hair & Scalp Revitalizer.

My favorite two of the package were by far the shaving cream and the exfoliating scrub. The scrub was gritty, which is what I like. It had a great scent and you didn't need to put more than a teaspoon in your hand to get a good lather going.

The shaving cream disappeared the quickest since Larry put dibs on it as well. It also lathers up nicely and you don't need much to get a good, smooth shave. Unlike a gel, your face felt clean even before washing off the residue. Overall the best product in the bunch.

The moisturizing lotion was next on my list. I loved that it wasn't greasy and went on thick. Seriously, I mean thick. It took a good five minutes for it to absorb into the skin. My face wasn't shiny or oily all day. And the best part, it didn't smell. Sometimes the scents are overpowering or too much like perfume. This was prefect.

The Hair & Scalp Revitalizer was a product I'd have never tried. My hair is in pretty good shape and I still have all it, so I'm not sure how much more it could have done. This was probably the most fun to use of the five products. Every morning, I put this in my hair and would let it sit for five minutes. My scalp never tingled so much. So although I never saw too much difference in my hair, I could tell it was working.

The only product I didn't like as much was the toner. First, I like a toner I can apply using cotton balls. This comes with a spray and shoot it on your face in the mornings. The scent also wasn't my favorite. Given how nice the three other face products were, I was surprised at how different this smelled from the others.

Overall, a great buy and great products. I think the pieces compliment each other.

Arbonne gets a thumbs up from me.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

O Ye of Little Faith

By nature, I'm a cynical person. It's just the way I grew up; dog-eat-dog world, every man for themselves. You get the picture.

I try hard to be a good person these days. I go to church; I recycle; I donate to charity. But I also slam people behind their backs sometimes or tell jokes at their expense and then apologize explaining--and justifying-- it was only for the laugh.

Two months ago, I bought some ImagiNext toys on eBay for Corey. The woman who sold me the toys lived 25 minutes away, so it was a good hike to get them, but the toys were in great shape. I bought the pirate ship, skull island and the fortress. There were pictures of all of them but her son had disassembled them for pick up.

She apologized profusely for the struggle I would have putting them back together. When I arrived to pick them up on her doorstep, she had added a jet fighter and a tank with army men for my troubles. (The tank makes SO MUCH NOISE when you push the buttons that I think her generosity was a win for her as well.)

When I got home, she was right; putting them together was a disaster, but Corey loves them and that's what matter. It's obvious the parts are jury-rigged due to this dad's best ability.

Today, in the mail, arrived an envelope from California. Inside were the instructions for the toys along with a brief note saying they had been found in the move.

Who takes the time like that to make the world a little better? Not many people, but you Chris B. are one of them.

There are times we think what we do doesn't matter. This past week, two bloggers announced they are (or contemplating) ending their blogs. The one I'm friends with mentioned that he struggled with what to write about. We, with 2-4 years olds, can marvel in our kids bowel movements. He, with an 11 year old, has a difference set of rules to adhere to and feels there is nothing cute or funny to discuss.

It had me worrying about the blog thing being a fad. Right now, I can't see me NOT writing. It's the one thing I love more than anything. And the blog has helped it grow and honestly, be heard. I'd still write without it, but it clarifies my thoughts when I think of an audience reading it.

First to D... I'm sorry you are thinking about ditching your blog. I love reading yours along with the rest of you who write. It's so strange to be this family of writers that enjoys hearing what each other has to think. How weird to have a cyber connection to those you'd never recognize without a URL.

And to the rest of you who read us, every now and then, say hi; tell us what you think. We write because we love to. But it means that much more to us to know you love it as well.

This week has been named "Delurking Week" (OK, seriously who names this shit?) Turn the tables for us just this once and say hi. Most blogs allow you to do it anonymously, so take the plunge. Help us celebrate our joy of writing.


Friday, January 05, 2007

Random Nothings

Do you ever have those, weeks when you get online with the sole intention of blogging and then you loose focus? Yeah, me too. Sure I did the massage story the other day, but that was like passing a kidney stone. I always have these great ideas and when I sit down at the keyboard, I just look at porn read other blogs (admiring how witty you are) and surf random shit.

Some stories aren't worth their own posting, some sound so much funnier in my head, and some I just don't think you'll care about. However, I find that writing is therapeutic for me--as opposed to massages--so my Jan 1-8 resolution is to blog more. (I like to only schedule my resolutions for as long as they will most likely last. It just seems to disappoint less.)

So here's my random nothings for the Christmas week.

All You Have to Do is Dream
Everyone wrote up their thoughts of Happy Feet, but I have yet to see a posting for Dreamgirls. Am I the only one who saw this? Larry & I went to the theaters three times to see this. (OK, the first two times it was sold out. And yes, we now know how to buy tickets online. Gimme a break, I still can't hook up the fucking wireless router after two years.)

Now I'm programmed to like musicals, so naturally I loved the show. However, let me just say that Jennifer Hudson is a complete lock for Best Supporting Actress. I am just tickled that she went from being kicked off 6th in American Idol Season 3 and then landed AND delivered one of the most coveted roles in Broadway. Take that Simon and Randy.

Even if you're not going to see it, you should at least listen to her sing And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going. It will send chills down your spine.

Movin' On Up
It's no secret I love my job. After the 4½ year disaster at Imagine, it's nice to actually be thinking , creating and feeling valuable again. I have never worked so hard in my life and the only thing I can think of as I go to bed is what I can do the next day..welll, that and will Jason Statham ever read my email, leave his wife and whisk me away from all this madnesss. (Stay tuned on that!)

Seriously though, I could easily spend 60 hours a week doing everything I want to try. Between my current role and this impending grad school, I barely have enough time as it is.

So 10 months into this career, they promoted me. My new role will have me running marketing and membership for our association. Honestly, I was floored and elated. I can't think of a more exciting way to begin 2007.

Jack of All Trade; A Masters in Business
Speaking of Grad School, I'm floundering on getting this preliminary application done. I have to write a Statement of Intent which essentially says why I want to subject myself to the lunacy of getting an MBA in my early 40's. Why is it that I can write about myself so much here, but can't do it for the application?

A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing
Christmas Eve was my son's big debut in the theater world. OK, technically he was a sheep singing "Away in a Manager" at his church's Christmas pageant, but it was his first time singing in public.

We got to the church and sat with all the other video-camming parents. We got chatting with other parents and discovered that were we were sitting directly behind Tony, who was 'Jesus's' dad. I made light of his daughter's casting,

"So you're Jesus's dad? You must be a carpenter," I chuckled.
"Nope. I'm an accountant."

Irony is totally wasted on Christmas Eve.

Me Thinks You Do Promote Too Much
In a weird twist of fate, I had to look up Imagine's address and visited their web site. It had been recently redone and I stupidly surfed through it.

Last year, as I was in the process of being left in a corner looking for a new job on their dime, they were doing a big push to make sure people knew what a great place it was to work. They had won DC's "Top 50 places to work" twice (though many of the perks listed in the Washingtonian Magazine were greatly exaggerated) and won "Top 25 Small Companies to Work for" (after putting anonymous NUMBERED surveys in our mailboxes for us to complete and return to HR).

Now, their web site is filled with over 20 videos of employees telling why it is their favorite place to work. The management couldn't come across as more insincere in their videos. The 'team leaders' were absolutely hysterical as well. All of these folks, which had privately talked about how disappointed there were when I was there, now preached to the world the benefits and joys of being at Imagine. If you look closely in the video, you can see the tip of the gun pointing at them. And for the record, two of the folks have already resigned. (For one of them, this is her second time resigning.)

It's hard to Envision a company who has almost a 20% yearly turnover, trying to tell folks it's a great place to work. So if you're considering a job at an educational company in Tysons Corner, VA that needs 22 people telling you how great it is working there... run.

(As you know I won't share their real name, but you can always email me and I'll send you the link.)

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Rubbing Me the Wrong Way

Welcome back and Happy New Year. I think we all took a well deserved break, but I for one am glad to be back in the routine.

This past week, I did something I had never done before; I got a massage. Seriously, I'm almost 40 and never had one. This was a gift from Larry (umm, for my birthday last January) and I finally got around to booking it (because it expired on Dec 31). So what did I think?

I didn't like it. This will probably induce some "are you crazy" commentaries, but that's okay. I don't think massages are for everyone. My masseuse, Tammi, was very sweet and handled this newbie well.

Her: "So you need to change and get under the covers."
Me: "Change into what?"
Her: "Go down to whatever you feel comfortable."
Me: "Like nude? People do this naked?"
Her: "Some do."
Me: "I'm not looking for one of those 'happy ending' massages."
Her: "Good, because you weren't getting one."

This represents much of the conversation for the first ten minutes until she told me I really didn't have to talk to her. I took the hint.

There were points in the massage that were interesting. She found muscles and pressure points I didn't know were there. Every now and then, I'd make a noise and she'd ask if it hurt. "It didn't hurt, but you are pushing on areas that don't exactly feel soothing," I'd say.

We did this for an hour. I stared at the lights in the ceiling, counted the ceiling tiles, tried to guess the ingredients in the lotion she used based soley on their smells.

Then she had me turn over and put my face into the "doughnut thing". I looked down at my hands dangling in front me and examined my fingers for 20 minutes. I thought of the things I had to do at work when I returned or the music I hadn't yet downloaded. Hmm, what are we making for dinner tonight?

Then I decided to examine why I wasn't really enjoying this. I came to this conclusion: I don't like to sit still. I am the body likes to remain in motion. If it's time to relax, let me work in the garden for six hours, let me blog or read blogs, let me build some shelves in the basement or paint. I hate not moving.

Finally it was over. I was sore and honestly, more tired than when I walked into the place. Then I was instructed to drink lots of water due to the toxin release. (Why do people do this, I thought?) I of course, didn't drink a ton of water and felt pretty shitty that day.

In a way I felt bad for Tammi. Perhaps she could tell that I wasn't really into the massage. If she did know it, I hope she realizes it was not her. I felt bad for Larry. He spent good money to have me experience something he loves. Hey, I'm glad I got to try it.

Life is about experimenting and doing things you've never done. This was something on my list that I got to check off. Not everything you do needs to work out perfectly.

I guess I really didn't have a 'happy ending.'